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Fishers Close the Auckland Island Squid Fishery

20 April 2005

Squid Fishers Close the Auckland Island Squid Fishery

“The statement by Forest and Bird about the number of sea lions killed by squid fishing boats is grossly misleading”, Squid Fishery Management Company CEO Richard Cade said in a statement today.

“The Squid Fishery Management Company (SFMC) closed the Auckland Island squid fishery on Sunday 17 April at noon. SFMC closed the fishery when the “virtual” count of sea lion fisheries related mortality reached 115, this virtual count is based on a predetermined strike rate.

“However the actual catch of sea lions in the fishery to 10 March 2005 has been much lower. The Ministry of Fisheries observers recorded 8 sea lion deaths. Observer coverage in the fleet this year has been 33% at the time the SFMC chose to close the fishery. This would equate to an actual kill of 24 sea lions – less than a quarter of that estimated by the theoretical model.

“Squid fishers and companies remain committed to reducing the incidental captures of sea lions in the Auckland Islands fishery and have, over the past six years, developed a Sea Lion Excluder Device (SLED) designed to let sea lions escape from trawl nets.”

“Our company has been working with both marine mammal scientists and gear manufacturers to prove the technology and improve its design. And the science suggests that these SLEDs are extremely effective in letting sea lions escape squid trawl nets. We continue to work co-operatively with Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Conservation and independent scientists to resolve issues around SLED use in the fishery.”

ENDS


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